HC Deb 19 March 1970 vol 798 c589
11. Mr. St. John-Stevas

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what consultations she has had with British societies and other institutions to respond to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's request for assistance in preventing Venice from sinking into her lagoon.

Mr. Whitaker

We shall shortly be bringing the UNESCO documents, which deal also with Florence, to the notice of appropriate British institutions and inviting them to consider whether there is anything they can do to help. Copies of the documents are being placed in the Library of the House.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

Will not the hon. Gentleman agree that example is much more impressive than precept? In view of our improved balance of payments, cannot the Government set an example by making an initial donation of £250,000 to this project with a view to encouraging the others?

Mr. Whitaker

I agree with the hon. Gentleman that Venice is a wonderful and unique place. One should also bear in mind that Italy is not the poorest country in the world.

Mr. Hooley

Having no desire to see Venice sink into the Lagoon, may I ask whether my hon. Friend will confirm that, if such a payment were made, it would not fall on the aid programme?

Mr. Whitaker

At present there is no question of a capital payment being made by the British Government. We should be glad to consider whether we could help with specialist advice or assistance.

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